Chris Stratton feels ‘million times better,’ prepares for return to mound

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

Former Mississippi State pitcher Chris Stratton is in Scottsdale, Ariz., getting ready for a month-long stint in an instructional league, and he’s doing well after taking a line drive to the head during batting practice a little more than three weeks ago.

Stratton, a standout at Tupelo High, has been in Scottsdale since Monday, but he hasn’t yet been cleared to pitch again.

“You have to go through a five-step progression and clear it after (having) a concussion for the MLB (Major League Baseball),” Stratton said in a text message. “When I clear that, I will start throwing bullpens and get ready to throw in the instructional league, which is Sept. 18-Oct. 18. I’ll just be trying to get back on the mound in a game before I come home.”

The Tupelo native said he expects to be “good to go” in about a week.

He spent this past summer playing for Salem-Keizer (Ore.) of the short-season Northwest League. Stratton was shagging balls during batting practice Aug. 21 when he stepped out from behind a protective screen to retrieve a throw, and a line drive struck him in the head. He was hospitalized overnight and was exhibiting concussion symptoms. He’s feeling “a million times better” these days.

“Steadily getting better every day, which is always encouraging,” he said. “I’m ready to get back to pitching, that’s for sure.”

Stratton had a record of 0-1 with a 2.76 ERA for Salem-Keizer. That came on the heels of a stellar junior season at MSU, when he was 11-2 with a 2.38 ERA and was named the SEC pitcher of the year. He was drafted in the first round (20th overall) by San Francisco.

Click here for more at Brad Locke’s Inside Mississippi State Sports blog.